The ACT Meteors' season will be delayed by almost three months after Cricket Australia was forced into rearranging its national women's competition for a second season in a row.
Lockdowns across the nation have effectively torn up the Women's National Cricket League fixture, which originally had the Meteors opening their account in Adelaide on September 25 against Western Australia.
They will now play their first match, COVID willing, against Victoria on December 16 - after the Women's Big Bash League which remains set to begin in October.
Seven scheduled WNCL fixtures which were due to be played prior to the WBBL, including the Meteors' September 27 clash with South Australia, will now be rescheduled for later in the summer.
Meteors stars have been restricted to training in small groups since Canberra was plunged into lockdown four weeks ago, disrupting coach Jono Dean's carefully crafted preseason.
It follows on from a frustrating 2020-21 summer where COVID-19 forced multiple delays to the WNCL competition, which eventually began in late January.
"It's been challenging for our girls but long story short, we've done a lot of work over the last two years to become more self-sufficient and more self-aware," Dean said.
"Our players are now more equipped to be able to deal with some of the situations where you might not have access to the perfect facility, or the coach, all those sorts of resources.
"It's not new which I think is a positive, we experienced a lot of these challenges last year initially and worked through that.
"For us it's about our intent and desire to get the job done with what we have, not about what we have to get the job done."
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The Meteors had been set to play an internal centre wicket match on August 14, but the ACT was locked down two days prior.
Now they're unlikely to play any preseason matches before the Meteors' 11 contracted WBBL players join their Big Bash franchises.
North Sydney Oval and Bankstown had been set to host the opening stages of this summer's WBBL, but those matches will now be moved as the Harbour City grapples with its coronavirus crisis.
Cricket Australia is yet to lock in an alternative location for its opening fixtures, but is desperately keen to start the competition on time after announcing a new finals structure which offers more incentive to teams finishing in the top two.
Under the new system, first versus second will play off in a final with the winner advancing straight to the decider. The loser of that match will play the winner of the third versus fourth Challenger match.
The first team through to the decider will be awarded hosting rights to the November 27 final, should COVID allow it.